4 Jun 2013

Cricket association says new ground may not need consent

6:34 pm on 4 June 2013

Canterbury Cricket has told the Environment Court it may not require resource consent to upgrade a modest cricket ground in Hagley Park into an international match venue.

The court is hearing an application from the association to build an embankment for 12,000 spectators, lighting towers and a pavilion in time to host some of the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

The resource consent application has been fast-tracked at the request of Christchurch City Council, which owns the ground, due to opposition to the upgrade and a high likelihood the case would end up in court.

Canterbury Cricket has been searching for a new home for international matches since the recent damaging earthquakes. It says it needs a decision on the upgrade by August this year, the deadline for being considered as a World Cup venue.

The association was thrown a lifeline when the Government released its central city blueprint which said the Hagley Cricket Oval should be upgraded to host international matches.

On Tuesday, Canterbury Cricket's lawyer told the Environment Court the Government's recovery plans trumped the provisions of the Resource Management Act.

Pru Steven said the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act did allow for conditions to be placed on the development, but that final approval could not be withheld.

Canterbury Cricket said public access the Hagley Park cricket ground would not be limited if the upgrade goes ahead. It said the ground is already used for cricket and fences around the pitch would be removed outside the cricket season.

The hearing is set down for two weeks.

A spokesman for the group, Hands off Hagley, said allowing the upgrade would open the way for other commercial developments in the park. Martin Meehan said future generations could be robbed of enjoying the park as people do now.